Vols to the polls
Bob Jones writes that state budget crises amount to a "no-win situation for GOP incumbents" ("No room for error," Oct. 19). It can become more of a win-win situation if citizens who have would volunteer to donate some of their resources to those who have not. We need to tell our political representatives we don't want to be part of an ever-growing nanny state, and show that personal responsibility and teamwork among citizens will improve our states and bring people closer together. Maybe then our governors won't have to wring their hands over where to spend our tax money. - Jeff Schicke, Wharton, N.J.
Bob Jones's fine article on the upcoming gubernatorial races omitted two very interesting races in South Carolina and Alabama, where incumbent Democrats are trailing or tied with their Republican challengers in the most recent polls. That is a possible pickup of two seats for Republicans and conservatives. - Tim Setzer, Blacksburg, S.C.
I'm grateful for the excellent election coverage in WORLD. Who wins these elections will seriously affect what kind of country we will live in, as you pointed out earlier in your story about California politics and the vigorous promotion of homosexuality there ("When liberals seize a state," Aug. 31). - David Nyhuis, Eatonville, Wash.
As a musician, I resonated very deeply with Marvin Olasky's "Musical diagnosis" (Oct. 19). Good music does not find joy by trying to whitewash the pain; it finds its highest joy in the enduring mercy God gives despite the pain. What a pity this type of sobriety is foreign to our tastes. - Jonathan Landell, Richmond, Vt.
The lack of creativity among many Christian pop artists should not condemn the whole Christian music industry. Christian music creates a subculture of edification that continually renews the minds of the listeners and we need to respect that. Unfortunately, most Christian radio stations strictly limit the genres they air, but quality and variety are out there and worth seeking. - Lane Walker, Manchester, Mo.
Finally someone articulated what I've struggled with in the "Christian" music scene. While sounding more and more "secular" or "mainstream," popular Christian music still has a somewhat nauseating lack of reality. I feel so relieved to know that I'm not the only professing Christian who sees value in secular lyrics, even when they don't give the prescription. - Amy Gearhardt, Ft. Campbell, Ky.
I appreciated the column that you published, "Kids will be kids" (Oct. 19) by Gene Edward Veith. It showed me all the more that we live in a world full of sin. It also helped me to know better how to pray for girls and boys my age. - Betsy M. Cook, 13, Midland, Mich.
After reading "Kids will be kids," I could only weep and go to prayer. As I look at the face of Artieas, one of the children accused of murder, I can only say that we, the adults of America, are guilty, too. Our country's morality and values have spiraled down into such depravity that what was once considered unthinkable is now commonly overlooked. We tolerate abortion and child pornography and music that glorifies murder with minute details that would turn your stomach (with the whole sick message wrapped in a package of sexual perversion), and then we all shake our heads wondering how on earth children could be so cruel and evil. - Irene Lagios, Nashua, N.H.
Winning & losing
Joel Belz's column "Beyond the margins" (Oct. 19) was the exact lesson that I learned working on a gubernatorial campaign this past June in my home state of South Carolina. Ken Wingate ran "unsuccessfully" for the Republican nomination among a field of six other candidates. Yet, at the end of the campaign I saw before me a man who had been truly successful. He taught many of us the invaluable lesson that we, as Christians, are indeed called to "redeem the culture" at whatever cost. Christians need to hear Mr. Alfonsi's story and others like it to serve as examples of those have a clear understanding of our biblical calling. - Jeannie Hall, Clemson, S.C.
As a sister in Christ and a recently defeated candidate for the state legislature here in Arizona, I believe that God is certainly in control but, to paraphrase Mordecai's warning to Esther, our choice is whether or not we want to be a part of His working out of His plan. How have we missed out on God's blessings for this country by failing to exercise our God-given freedom to vote? I am learning that while most Christians do not vote, others are being led by non-Christians because of a lack of Christian leadership in this area. Pastors, as a group, are very afraid to be involved at all and some who are not afraid are making curious choices. I have committed to being involved in the process for at least the next two years. I am not liking what I am seeing. - Roberta S. Livesay, Gilbert, Ariz.
Mr. Alfonsi lost his GOP primary bid to a man I have supported: Ron Greer, a Christian, a pastor, and a man of principle who was fired from the Madison fire department for opposing its pro-lesbian agenda. With an opponent like that, I hope that Mr. Alfonsi can rejoice with me in his "loss." Perhaps Mr. Alfonsi could move to a district that truly needs him. A place in California comes to mind ... - Larry Rippere, Mountain View, Calif.
Regarding Joel Belz's suggestion to get into the Bible before we get into our newspapers ("Getting your fix, Oct. 12): When my husband, an Army chaplain at the time, went off to Saudi Arabia to serve in the Gulf War, I would read in the Psalms, journal, and pray for a full two hours every morning. I did not turn on CNN or read the newspapers until much later in the day, when I felt more spiritually equipped to deal with what was going on. The practice yielded wonderful dividends for myself and my college-age children and for many young military wives in our support group who were biblically ungrounded and terrified. Isaiah reminds us that God keeps in perfect peace the mind set on Him; our world is much changed, but our God is not. - Susan Morrison, Crownsville, Md.
First comes faith
Mr. Piper did an excellent job of highlighting an area where we evangelicals need to be careful that we do not confuse the theological event of justification with the visible effects that follow ("Feelings slighted," Oct. 19). Both faith and works are inseparable parts of salvation. Works do not lead, but they must follow. - Leon Cook, Midland, Mich.
Thank you for "What's the difference?" (Oct. 12). Although I agree with Mr. Olasky that the Republican Party is far from perfect, I was glad to see his support. As both a member of the Republican Party and a Christian, it is a blessing to have WORLD provide objective looks at both liberal and conservative agendas. - Matthew Russell, Greenville, S.C.
As a conservative South Dakotan, I was greatly disappointed in the Oct. 12 cover story, "Who is Tom Daschle?" We get more than enough of him from the liberal media. We are proud South Dakotans, but we know the only reason our two senators are in office is because of their pork-laden bills. Neither one represents the thinking in our conservative state. They are an embarrassment and a disgrace to our state and nation. - Lois Visscher, Platte, S.D.
I don't personally agree with Tom Daschle's politics on just about every issue, but I find the cover story about his involvement (as a 25-year-old) with a Lebanese-American senator who was anti-Israel less than shocking and kind of trivial. I wonder how many Republican leaders were aligned with political allies that had agendas contrary to the Christian worldview when they were 25? - Peter Torok,Medina, N.Y.